There is an inherent magic found inside books and watching a child discover this fact is an absolutely amazing experience! Literacy, social skills and critical thinking are among the many benefits of a child participating in a book club and there is no better time than the present to create a club for a child in your life. There aren’t many kid friendly book clubs though, so here is a handy 5 step process to creating your own club for mini bookworms!
Step One: Pick Your First Book
You would think that you should start by getting members… but that’s actually not the best starting place!
It is easier to pitch a club to potential members when you have a book and date already set for the first month. So make your first book selection! If you need help making a decision, you can check out this list here of fun children’s books!
Step Two: Create a way to organize your group and reach out to invite new members to join!
Our group uses the application “Bookclubs” to organize our meetings. It is a free application that is easy to use and helps members to note meeting dates, add book ratings and more!
Other options could include a large group message, a WhatsApp group chat etc.
Once you have your group communication method established, reach out to anyone that you think might be interested. This could mean reaching out to the parents of your child’s classmates, younger extended family members like cousins or neighbors with children around the same age. Don’t forget to tell them, even if they can’t make the first meeting… they can always join and come to the following meeting. Make sure to be flexible and open minded during this process, your new members (and their parents) will appreciate it!
Step Three: Plan Your Meeting
When planning your meeting, remember that you are preparing for a children’s event. A book club for kids will differ and should include things like fun games or an arts and craft project related to the book being discussed. Also, have back up plans for activities to do… just in case your primary plan does not work out. Also to note: depending on the age of the children involved, you may want to read the book aloud at the beginning of the actual meeting. With younger kids, the read aloud process allows them to refresh their memory of the book plot, characters etc and this will make for a more fruitful discussion. If you have older children or teens, you can skip the read aloud but could have someone read a summary of the book instead.
Step Four: Gather Materials
If you plan on doing any crafts or other activities, plan on gathering your materials with plenty of lead time. Amazon is great, but don’t be afraid to check out local craft stores for activity ideas. If you are a Pinterest person, starting a board for your book club themes is a great way to save activity ideas you find online!
During the week of the meeting, you’ll need to go to the grocery store to get some snacks and drinks for the kids. Don’t forget about the parents/caregivers too! They’ll need some refreshments as well. An alternative to purchasing snacks for everyone is to have a potluck style event where everyone brings a little something to munch on during the discussion. No matter which option you choose, it is always good to have some refreshments available. Important to note: if you are providing food… don’t forget to ask about allergies and avoid any common allergens like peanuts if you are unsure.
Step Five: Relax and Enjoy the Book Club!
This one can be the most difficult step, but don’t forget to enjoy the actual event! Try and maintain a calm and relaxed atmosphere. If something goes wrong (and it inevitably will) it is OKAY! With kids, nothing is ever perfect. Remember to smile, ask questions and let the kids lead the discussion. Sometimes they may need a little push to get the conversation going, as the adult… your job is to moderate. You can accomplish this by asking simple, open ended questions. You can also play a game like “Agree/Disagree” to start the conversation.
Have fun with the kiddos and enjoy your new mini bookworms book club!